In Los Angeles, and now Seattle, GATHER Events is practically a household name. The team of pro wedding designers and planners is headed up by none other than Sarah Tivel – who we have the pleasure of catching up with on our business blog today! The leading lady/girl boss/creative director is sharing where she finds inspiration, wedding trends, her dream collaboration, and much more. Plus, get a peek at this gorgeous dinner get-together she helped style with the Seattle GATHER girls!
Oh my goodness…. where don’t I get inspiration from would be easier!! I’m inspired everyday, constantly. By the creative things the design community around me puts out into the world, by the crafters and makers I encounter locally and abroad, by travel and textiles and patterns and architecture and food! Mostly though, I’m inspired by people. I’m continuously amazed by the people I meet, their stories, and their willingness to share themselves with those around them. Inspiration, for me, translates into helping these people create community and a setting or platform to tell their stories.
Last year, I was incredibly fortunate to be able to expand GATHER to be more of a collective with an incredible group of women who co-own/run our LA and Seattle locations (more to come soon!). Sharing these experiences and collaborating with these amazing, strong, talented and supportive women has been one of the most inspiring, most humbling, most joyful experiences of my life. I’m SO excited to see how we’re all able to grow together over the coming years.
What made you set your sights on wedding and event design?
I’m a hopeless romantic and am in love with LOVE! Everything about bringing people together to celebrate love makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning and get to work! I probably shouldn’t say this, but when I started out, I actually didn’t want to be a wedding planner. I was pre-med in college, waitressing at a restaurant to pay the bills. That location became a wedding destination and I became the default planner. A few years later, after having been asked to plan off-site events and starting a small planning business while still in school full time, I realized how much I loved what I was doing and from that moment on, it’s been a perfect match.
What did you do before GATHER?
I worked my a*# off! I spent my younger years, while going to school, working my way up in many a company. Retail, restaurant, office work, you name it. I started GATHER with my best friend when I was 19 years old. Oh man… that seems like a lifetime ago! We went by a different name then and didn’t do much design. After 13 years, a few different iterations, location changes and launching a new concept this past year, it’s hard for me to imagine a time before GATHER 🙂
Give us a peek at a typical day in the life of Sarah Tivel!
Life’s good! I’ve stepped into more of a creative director role this past year and I’m loving being able to be more often at home with my boys (boyfriend and pup)! I typically wake up early, try to get some sort of yoga or outdoor time in (operative word try), make breakfast and then get to work! I spend a good portion of my work day gathering inspiration, collaborating with our team and other industry vendors and planning out our schedules/strategies to get to keep doing what we love.
When I’m not working, I’m traipsing around outdoors with my man and our pup around our home in Ashland, Oregon. Also, spending time catching up with my close friends, traveling or cooking! I spend a LOT of time cooking. After struggling with an autoimmune disorder most of my life, I’ve finally been able to combat the intense symptoms by eating a really restrictive diet. This pretty much means no eating out ever. So, I have to cook everything myself! Bone broth, jerky, kombucha, coconut milk, you name it, I make it from scratch. Right now, we’re working on our garden for the year, so hopefully I’ll be able to cook with the things we grew very soon!
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
I have plans to be doing what I’m doing now from a farm/venue space in the outskirts of Portland! I’m the happiest when I can bring people together around a great meal to connect, create with, and love each other. I hope to have a space that lends itself to doing just that.
You always seem to be ahead of the trend – what would you like to see this year in weddings?
We’ve been seeing an incredible trend toward intention and quality in weddings. This just makes my heart happy! I hope that engaged couples will continue to focus on the things that are really truly important to them and how they want to celebrate those things with their closest friends and family.
If you could have any other job, what would it be?
Honestly, if it weren’t for kitchen hours (I can’t keep my eyes open after 9pm), I probably would have been a chef! I have so much admiration for everyone who works in kitchen environments to bring delicious, nourishing meals to tables everywhere.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
Pinterest and Olive oil. Seriously, it’s embarrassing how much olive oil I go through.
After a 6 week trip through SE Asia last year, I’m DYING to collaborate on a few textile projects I’ve been dreaming up. Emily Henderson? The Little Market? Call me ladies!